The annual exclamation point to the Winter Meetings, the 2015 Rule 5 Draft took place on Thursday morning in Nashville. Below is a list of the selections in this year's Major League phase of the Rule 5 Draft with short commentary.
1. Phillies select: Tyler Goeddel, OF, Rays. Age 23. 122 wRC+ at Double A in 2015. Grade C prior to 2015. He showed some power, patience, and speed this year. With a variety of tools and skills, he has a chance to be a league average bat in a corner outfield spot.
2. Reds select: Jake Cave, OF, Yankees. Age 23. 97 wRC+ at Double A in 2015. Grade C+ prior to 2015. He lacks power, but the other tools are solid. With some on-base skills and the ability to play center field, he could be a fourth outfielder. Check out Wayne Cavadi's analysis of Cave.
3. Braves select: Evan Rutckyj, LHP, Yankees. Age 24. Split 2015 between High A and Double A. 82 strikeouts in 61.2 innings with solid control and ground ball tendencies. Looks like a good bullpen candidate.
4. Padres Acquire from Rockies: Luis Perdomo, RHP, Cardinals. Age 23. 3.39 FIP with 100 strikeouts in 100.1 innings at Low A before late season promotion to High A. He has a big arm that can hit 97 with the potential for two average or better secondary pitches. With a legitimate chance to start, he has more upside than most of this year's picks.
5. Brewers select: Colin Walsh, 2B, Athletics. Age 26. 163 wRC+ at Double A in 2015. Line fueled by high BABIP, but showed good pop, on-base skills and some speed. A switch-hitter who has also played some outfield, he makes for a potentially interesting National League reserve.
6. Padres acquire from Athletics: Jabari Blash, OF, Mariners. Age 26. Split 2015 between Double A (155 wRC+) and Triple A (157 wRC+). Grade C prior to 2015. He has some swing and miss concerns, but also more power potential than is normally found in this draft. He has played mostly right field. With a chance to be a legitimate offensive contributor, he figures to get an honest shot at sticking this spring.
8. Padres select: Josh Martin, RHP, Indians. Age 26. 2.51 FIP with 10.69 K/9 and 2.54 BB/9 as a reliever at Double A in 2015. With a low 90s fastball and a highly effective track record in the minors, he appears capable of competing for a role in the bullpen.
15. Orioles select: Joey Rickard, OF, Rays. Age 25. Split 2015 between Double A (158 wRC+) and Triple A (168 wRC+). Although he lacks power, he has good contact and on-base skills with some speed. Chris Mitchell's KATOH system likes his statistical profile as well. Probably a reserve outfielder, but interesting.
20. Angels select: Deolis Guerra, RHP, Pirates. Age 27. Strong Triple A showings the past two seasons including a 2.15 FIP, 9.08 K/9, and 1.62 BB/9 in 36.2 innings this year. He made ten appearances for the Pirates as well, but was roughed up for 12 runs in 16.2 innings while allowing five homers. His strikeout and walk rates were comparable in that small sample, so there is hope here. His fastball is mediocre, but he backs it with strong change and increasingly good control. Another reliever with a middling ceiling, but he is ready for a more extended look.
26. Blue Jays select: Joe Biagini, RHP, Giants. Age 26. Spent 2015 as a starter at Double A where he worked to a 3.35 FIP on the strength of strong walk and homer rates. As his 84 strikeouts in 130.1 innings suggest, this is not a high ceiling arm, which makes him a curious choice for the contending Blue Jays. His best bet would seem to be to hang on as a steady long reliever capable of limiting free passes and keeping the ball in the park.
30. Cardinals select: Matt Bowman, RHP, Mets. Age 25. A popular sleeper candidate, Bowman was gaining prospect momentum after a strong 2014 season where he ended up with seven effective appearances at Triple A. He had a rough go of it in his return to Las Vegas this year with strikeout and walk rates both significantly worse than his career minor league averages fueling an unsightly 5.03 FIP. With the chance for three or four average pitches, the Cardinals are willing to take a chance on a rebound
Phllies select: Daniel Stumpf, LHP, Royals. Age 25. A lefty reliever who worked to a 3.65 FIP on the strength of 9.68 K/9 and excellent ground ball rates in 70.2 innings at Double A. He works into the low 90s and reportedly has a solid slider. He has the look of a potential lefty specialist.
Reds select: Chris O'Grady, LHP, Angels. Age 26. Another lefty reliever who spend most of the year at Double A. With strong peripherals including excellent control, the ability to miss bats, and good ground ball rates, O'Grady may have a chance to stick as a lefty specialist.
Brewers select: Zack Jones, RHP, Twins. Age 25. Grade C+ on John's 2016 Twins list. A power righty who has reportedly touched 100 in the past, Jones shredded High A this year to the tune of a 1.67 FIP and 13.86 K/9 in 24.2 innings. Not nearly as impressive in his 27 Double A innings, although he still averaged 10.00 K/9. Questionable command, but a huge fastball and enough of a slider that he's worth gambling on.
Padres select: Blake Smith, RHP, White Sox. Age 28. A 2nd round pick of the Dodgers in 2009, Smith began his career as an outfielder before converting to the mound in 2013. He has made slow progress as a pitcher and finished up 2015 at Triple A for the White Sox after being acquired from the Dodgers for Eric Surkamp in May. He still has some control issues, but with a big arm and the ability to miss bats, he could contribute as a reliever.
Angels select: Ji-Man Choi, 1B, Orioles. Age 25. Grade C prior to 2015. After a breakout season in 2013 that saw Choi blaze through High A and Double A before finishing at Triple A, it appeared Choi had a chance to hit his way to the Majors. Injuries have limited him to just 97 games in the past two seasons stalling his progress. Even at the peak of his prospect hype, there were questions as to whether or not his power would profile as a 1B/DH type at the highest level.
The following teams had full 40-Man rosters and were unable to make selections: Mariners, Red Sox, Diamondbacks, Rays, Indians, and Twins.
The following teams passed on the opportunity to select players: Marlins, White Sox, Nationals, Giants, Astros, Yankees, Rangers, Mets, Dodgers, Royals, Cubs, and Pirates.
Feel free to comment on any of the picks. Which players do you think have the best chance of sticking with their new clubs this year? Which do you like to have the best long term success in their careers?